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There was problem with the passenger compartment heater core in the 2011 Cruzen. It appears to have been fixed sometime during the 2011 production run and the 2012s and 2013s are free of this issue. I don't have any smell in either of 2012 Cruzen. There is still an ongoing issue with some of the water pumps leaking and possible engine coolant loss but I suspect the internet (CruzeTalk) has magnified this issue. Remember that a lot of people come here only to report problems. There are over 600,000 Cruzen on the roads in the US and less than 1% of them are here. Only a small number of the members here have ongoing issues with engine coolant smell.

My recommendation, especially since it's winter, is that you go to a couple of different Chevy dealerships in your area and take a test drive. There are four base trims - LS with the 1.8L engine, LT, ECO, and LTZ with the 1.4 Turbo engine. The LTZ only comes in automatic while the other three come in both manual and automatic. All seven base trim/transmission options drive and handle differently. While you're test driving, turn the heater on and let your nose tell you if that car has an coolant smell. The reason I suggest going to different dealerships is that you're also looking for a dealership with a good service department. While you're there, see if you can get an introduction to the service managers and a quick tour of the service department. I know you don't want to visit your dealership, but you will have to go at least at 45,000 mile intervals to have service done. All other services can be done at the local quick lube place as long as they use Dexos 1 approved motor oils. Keep all receipts, regardless of where the routine services are done.

Why are you looking at the Cruze? You stated that you have been happily driving Toyota's for a long time - why the change?
 

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This is actually my first day on the forum as well and have read all 70 pages of the coolant smell thread. I've been considering buying a used 2012 LTZ with about 13k miles on it, and am now a little apprehensive with the coolant issue. While it certainly doesn't affect all Cruzes, its scary to have a potentially hazardous problem with no solution. Everything else I've read about the Cruze has seemed like its a great car.

But as obermd said, reading here makes it seem like there's lots of problems, but when you really think about it, there's many, many happy Cruze owners out there.
 

· Administrator
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This is my first day looking at this board. I see the anti-freeze smell thread is huge. Can someone give me a quick summary of the issue & if it's fixable?

It's not just smelling the smell of anti-freeze that would concern me, but the continual inhalation of the chemicals in the anti-freeze. I wouldn't want to find out the long term effects of breathing that in whenever I'm driving the car.

If there's a Chevy or GM rep here, I'd be interested in a reply from you as well as the others on the board.

Thanks again for all your help folks. I really do want to get this car but I need to find out what's going on first.
The anti-freeze smell came out in 2011 with some cars, and to my understanding, there was a TSB to resolve the issue. The biggest problems arose from members whose dealerships had no idea what they were doing. A change was made to 2012 and 2013 Cruzes to prevent this issue. Any antifreeze smell that might come out of a 2012 or 2013 Cruze would be due to a defective water pump. They had a couple of those, but they are uncommon. You really need to keep in mind that this forum is a magnet for people who have any issue with their car, and doesn't accurately reflect the extent of problems some people may lead you to believe they have.

The 2012's and 2013's are having the same issue according to the thread. The issue most likely won't show up on a test drive and it hasn't been solved yet.
Might want to take a poll of Cruze owners to see how many of them have ever smelled coolant if it's supposedly not solved yet. 18k miles here and haven't smelled a thing.

This is actually my first day on the forum as well and have read all 70 pages of the coolant smell thread. I've been considering buying a used 2012 LTZ with about 13k miles on it, and am now a little apprehensive with the coolant issue. While it certainly doesn't affect all Cruzes, its scary to have a potentially hazardous problem with no solution. Everything else I've read about the Cruze has seemed like its a great car.

But as obermd said, reading here makes it seem like there's lots of problems, but when you really think about it, there's many, many happy Cruze owners out there.
If it has 13k miles on it, drive it. If you can smell the coolant, there's your sign. If not, there's your sign. I have nearly 18k miles on mine and I've never smelled a hint of coolant since day 1. There are many other members on this board (I'd say 95% of them) who also have never smelled coolant in their Cruzes.
 

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I've never smelled coolant in my Cruze. My used oil analyses have shown no coolant in the oil. I'm hazarding mine's okay based on those two indicators and how it has 43k miles without smelling coolant.

There's no such thing as a "trouble-free car". Not unless it's a Matchbox/Hot Wheels, and the wheels still fall off those! The Cruze is a pretty trouble-free car. The odds are excellent that it will be trouble-free. However, those are odds, there still is a house, and the house does win a few. That's why there's a warranty.

I can't stress enough, find a dealer with a good reputation for servicing what they sell just in case there is an issue! Check out the service department, and ask some of the customers waiting there about the service department, such as who they would recommend to work with and if problems were fixed the first time. The dealer experience is just as important as the car itself.
 

· Epic Beard Man
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I believe the 2011 Cruzen that did have the coolant leak/smell had the tank/leak located near the incoming air for the cabin, so it mixed in. I think model year 2012s were redesigned to put this on the other side of the engine from the incoming air.

I have had a small amount of coolant usage which seems to have fixed itself. It might have been an air bubble. I NEVER had a coolant smell in the cabin nor any film on the windshield.
 

· Administrator
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One other thing. I'd like to welcome the new members who decided to post in this thread. I'm glad you joined, and feel free to ask any questions you might have about the Cruze. We're here to answer them and to help you get the information you need. You've taken a great first step by joining this forum to do your research.

I highly encourage you guys to read my review of the Cruze:

Behind the Wheel of the Chevy Cruze - The Xtreme Revolution

The review will give you an in-depth and thorough idea of what the Cruze is really like, including its strengths and weaknesses.
 

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713 Posts
I consider that stuff maintenance. It's suspension and accessory belt stuff that wears out and needs to be replaced every so often. And wheel bearings wear out after 100-150k miles, especially the fronts on a FWD car since they have so many roles to play in acceleration/steering/braking and suspension, often 2 or 3 of those things at once.
I've sent multiple Corolla's back for wheel bearings under warranty before 60,000 kms. I've sent a Camry back for front struts under warranty at 30,000 kms a few months ago.

The point I'm trying to make is small but true. I've found import owners a lot more accepting of repairs that shouldn't be happening than domestics. Why this is I have no idea. Is it because they are programmed to think the cars are better and anything that happens is normal? Maybe.

I'm not arguing that the imports are not better because as history shows anybody, they are. But the point is that nothing that exists is perfect even though some make us try to think that.
 

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What TSB are you referring to regards the coolant issue? What exact info do you have that was fixed in later models in regards to the coolant issue? I was told directly from GM that no redesign or fixes have been implemented for 2013 in regards to the cooling system. The only TSB that I know of was installing the venting tube from the resevoir and the pieces in the cowl. That did not work for me as did replacing the pressure cap (twice) and pressure testing my car 3+ times (I lost count) and not finding any leaks. This has been an ongoing issue for a while and I honestly believe GM knows it is a problem and the only solution is a redesign which is too costly. Why would they come out with a TSB in early summer 2012 that involves venting the coolant a different way and installing cowl pieces to block exhaust getting into the car and then not implement any of that in later models? Why would my car need a venting tube and not others? GM had no answers for me and the dealer told me they had no answers for them either. None of this makes any logical sense. To me it sends a message the "if anyone complains of the smell do this" type thing. I understand all cars have issues but the way that this has been handled and all the variables involved in this makes me suspicious. No way would I recommend buying a Cruze right now which is too bad because a fully functioning Cruze is still the best C class car out there in my opinion.
 

· Chevrolet Customer Assistance Representative
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5,722 Posts
Hello,

My last 2 cars have been Toyota Corollas. not fancy, BUT, each one has gone a quarter of a million miles with ZERO problems & NEVER had to go back to the car dealer for repairs. just normal maintenance over the years.

My job gives me extremely little free time. Having a car that breaks down, especially a brand new on after plunking down a considerable amount of money, and having to miss work to sit in a car dealer for repairs is not an option for me. I can't do it.

I really like the looks of the Chevy Cruze. BUT, you folks seem to have a ton of problems with it. A brand new car stinking of engine coolant? coolant on the windshield? etc, etc, etc. I don't have that now with my 12 year old corolla. I'm not going to put up with that with a new car.

Question for you folks: Just how reliable has your Cruze been? How long have you had it & how many times have you had to bring it back to the car dealer for repairs? Lastely, would you buy it again?

Thanks VERY MUCH in advance for any help/advice you can offer!



ConsideringACruze,
I understand that reading this forum may be unsettling. The forum is a place for people to discuss their concerns and get opinions. In my experience, this can often result in making a vehicle look like it has more concerns than it actually might. When you purchase a new Chevrolet vehicle it comes with a 3yr/36,000 mile Bumper to Bumper warranty. It covers the vehicle from bumper to bumper on any vehicle defect related to materials or workmanship. Original tires are covered but prorated after 12,000 miles during the terms of the Bumper to Bumper Limited Warranty. The Powertrain Limited Warranty is 100,000 miles or 5-years, whichever comes first. It is fully transferable and there are no fees and no deductibles. In addition, the Roadside Assistance and Courtesy Transportation programs are also 100,000 miles or 5-years (whichever comes first). GM will stand behind their products and will correct any issues related to defect or workmanship within the warranty period. In my opinion, as many others would agree, the Chevrolet Cruze is a great vehicle! It is fun to drive, safe, and great on fuel economy. If you have any questions or would like any other assistance please feel free to contact me; I would be happy to help you in any way that I can.
Thank you,
Stacy Chevrolet Customer Service
 
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